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Kathryn Homa, William P. Barney, William P. Davis, Daniel Guerrero, Mary J. Berger, Jose L. Lopez, Christian A. Wyenandt, and James E. Simon

Fusarium wilt of basil (FOB), caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. basilici, is an economically damaging disease of field- and greenhouse-grown sweet basil. Growers have observed a resurgence of FOB and susceptibility in FOB-resistant cultivars. Because currently available chemical, biological, and cultural control methods are costly, unsustainable, ineffective, or challenging to implement, new strategies of FOB control are needed. Cold plasma is becoming an increasingly important experimental technology in the food and agricultural industry for pathogen decontamination. To understand the effect of cold plasma treatment on FOB incidence and severity, experiments were conducted by treating FOB mycelium, inoculated sweet basil seedlings, and seeds with various experimental cold plasma treatment devices, all using helium as a feed gas. Initial results indicated that while the cold plasma jet treatment did not result in a significant reduction in mean mycelial growth rate or virulence of the pathogen, direct cold plasma jet treatments on seedlings, as well as a cold plasma dielectric barrier discharge treatment on seeds, did exhibit varying efficacies against FOB. Control of FOB appeared to be strongly dependent on the exposure time to cold plasma. These findings can aid in the standardization of a cold plasma treatment for the commercial basil seed and transplant industry.

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George E. Boyhan, William M. Randle, Albert C. Purvis, Pamela M. Lewis, Donna O. Linton, Reid L. Torrance, and David E. Curry

A 3-year study on the effects of growth stimulants on yield, bulb size, bulb quality, and storability of short-day onions (Allium cepa L.) was conducted at three locations. Treatments included 2-hydroxypropanoic acid, humic acids, humic acids in conjunction with micronutrients, and two formulations of cytokinin applied as a transplant dip and/or plant spray. There were no differences between 2-hydroxypropanoic acid and an untreated check at two different farm locations for onion yield, equatorial bulb diameter, or percent jumbos [≥3 inches (≥7.6 cm)] in 1997. Comparisons between untreated checks, 2-hydroxypropanoic acid, humic acids as a transplant dip or plant spray, and humic acids with micronutrients, all applied as transplant dip or plant spray, indicated there were no differences among treatments for yield, pungency, soluble solids, equatorial bulb diameter, or percent marketable bulbs after 6 months in controlled atmosphere storage in 1997-98. In a final experiment, these treatments were evaluated in a factorial arrangement using the short-day onion cultivar Pegasus and a mixture of cultivars WI-609 and WI-3115, which are referred to as Wannamaker cultivar mix. `Pegasus' displayed higher yield and lower soluble solids than the Wannamaker cultivar mix. Treatment with humic acids and micronutrients, or cytokinins resulted in greater percent marketable bulbs after 4.5 months of controlled atmosphere storage compared to the untreated check. No differences were observed among the treatments for pungency or bulb size. In addition, there was no treatment by cultivar interaction.

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Jose E. Sanchez, Charles E. Edson, George W. Bird, Mark E. Whalon, Thomas C. Willson, Richard R. Harwood, Kadir Kizilkaya, James E. Nugent, William Klein, Alan Middleton, Theodore L. Loudon, Dale R. Mutch, and Joseph Scrimger

Designing and implementing more productive, nutrient-efficient, and environmentally sound orchard management systems requires a better understanding of plant and soil responses to more biologically driven management practices. This study explored the effect of orchard floor and N management on soil organic C and N, populations of nematodes, NO3 leaching, and yields in tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L. `Montmorency') production. A baseline conventional orchard system consisting of an herbicide-treated tree row and a full rate of N fertilizer was compared to two modified-conventional and ten alternative orchard floor and N management systems. Living ground cover and the use of mulch with or without composted manure increased total C and the active C and N pools in the soil. For instance, supplemental mulch or mulch applied using a side-delivery mower increased soil C by >20% above the conventional baseline. The size of the active C pool increased 45% and 60% with the use of the species mix 2 ground cover and compost, respectively. Increases in the active N pool ranged from a low of 25% in the soils using mulch or a ground cover mix to a high of 60% when compost was used. As a result, the ability of these soils to provide N to growing plants was enhanced. Total soil N increased in the treatment using natural weeds as ground cover and the full rate of N fertilizer. It is likely that weeds were able to convert significant amounts of fertilizer N into organic forms. Increasing the active C and N pools stimulates microbial activity, and may favor populations of nonplant parasitic nematodes over plant parasitic species. Using a trunk-to-trunk cover crop mix under the cherry trees reduced NO3 leaching by >90% compared to a conventional, herbicide treated soil, even when N fertilizer was used at full rate. Nitrate leaching also dramatically diminished when N fertilizer was fertigated at a reduced rate or when compost was used as N source. Alternative orchard floor and N management did not reduce yields when compared to the baseline conventional treatment.

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Wheeler G. Foshee III, Brad E. Reeder, Raymond J. Kessler Jr., Larry W. Wells, Joseph M. Kemble, Edgar L. Vinson, Robert T. Boozer, and William A Dozier Jr

Production of high tunnel tomatoes and snapdragons was evaluated over a 2-year period at the Wiregrass Experiment Station, in southeastern Alabama. `BHN 640', `Florida 91', `Sunleaper', and `Carolina Gold', were evaluated in early Spring 2004. Results indicated that `BHN 640' outperformed `Florida 91' and `Carolina Gold' in early production of high tunnel grown tomatoes. A late Fall 2005 study examined `BHN 640' and `Florida 91'. Results indicated that `BHN 640' was superior to `Florida 91' in total marketable fruit. Season extension of both spring and fall tomato production were accomplished. A planting date study was completed in the early Spring 2005. The following four planting dates were evaluated: 31 Jan., 17 Feb., 4 Mar., and 25. Mar 2005. Wind damage to the high tunnel caused some mortality; however, the two earliest planting dates (31 Jan. and 17 Feb. 2005) produced over 10 lbs. of marketable tomatoes per plant. These were both superior to the last planting date of 25 Mar 2005. Cut snapdragons were evaluated for suitable colored mulch (red, white, or blue) and varieties for summer (`Opus Yellow', `Opus Rose', `Monaco Red', and `Potomac Early White') and fall (`Apollo Purple', `Apollo Yellow', `Monaco Red', `Monaco Rose', and `Potomac Early Orange') production. Results indicated that inflorescence length was affected by the color of mulch. The red mulch had increased inflorescence length compared to the white in Summer 2005. The Fall 2005 study revealed that white mulch had longer inflorescence length than the red or blue mulch. Some varietal differences were observed. The `Apollo Purple' had longer stem lengths than all other varieties for the fall study. The summer study revealed that `Opus Yellow' had longer inflorescence lengths than all others but stem lengths were all similar.

Open access

Brian M. Schwartz, Wayne W. Hanna, Lisa L. Baxter, Paul L. Raymer, F. Clint Waltz, Alec R. Kowalewski, Ambika Chandra, A. Dennis Genovesi, Benjamin G. Wherley, Grady L. Miller, Susana R. Milla-Lewis, William C. Reynolds, Yanqi Wu, Dennis L. Martin, Justin Q. Moss, Michael P. Kenna, J. Bryan Unruh, Kevin E. Kenworthy, Jing Zhang, and Patricio R. Munoz

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John D. Lea-Cox, Cindy Zhao, David S. Ross, Theodore E. Bilderback, J. Roger Harris, Susan D. Day, Chuanxue Hong, Thomas H. Yeager, Richard C. Beeson Jr, William L. Bauerle, Andrew G. Ristvey, Mary Lorscheider, Sarah Dickinson, and John M. Ruter

Increasing environmental concerns and legislation in many states and in other countries require that we take a more comprehensive sustainable “best management” approach to production techniques in nursery and greenhouse operations. This is particularly important because these production facilities are typically intense users of resources that are applied to relatively small land areas. We have developed an online knowledge center to facilitate the implementation of more sustainable practices within the nursery and greenhouse industry. A web-based knowledge center provides the most cost-effective mechanism for information delivery, as our potential audiences are extremely diverse and widespread. We currently have a registered user database of over 450 educators, growers, and industry professionals, and undergraduate and graduate students. A gateway website provides an overview of the issues and the goals of the project. The associated knowledge center currently has 25 in-depth learning modules, designed in a Moodle learning management framework. These learning modules are designed to actively engage learners in topics on substrate, irrigation, surface water, and nutrient and crop health management, which are integral to formulating farm-specific strategies for more sustainable water and nutrient management practices. Additional modules provide assessment and implementation tools for irrigation audits, irrigation methods and technologies, and water and nutrient management planning. The instructional design of the learning modules was paramount because there can be multiple strategies to improve site-specific production practices, which often require an integration of knowledge from engineering, plant science, and plant pathology disciplines. The assessment and review of current practices, and the decision to change a practice, are often not linear, nor simple. All modules were designed with this process in mind, and include numerous resources [pictures, diagrams, case studies, and assessment tools (e.g., spreadsheets and example calculations)] to enable the learner to fully understand all of the options available and to think critically about his/her decisions. Sixteen of the modules were used to teach an intensive 400-level “Principles of Water and Nutrient Management” course at the University of Maryland during Spring 2008 and 2009. The water and nutrient management planning module also supports the nursery and greenhouse Farmer Training Certification program in Maryland. The Maryland Department of Agriculture provides continuing education credits for all consultants and growers who register and complete any module in the knowledge center. Although these learning resources were developed by faculty in the eastern region of the United States, much of the information is applicable to more widespread audiences.

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George E. Boyhan, Albert C. Purvis, William M. Randle, Reid L. Torrance, M. Jefferson Cook IV, Greg Hardison, Ronald H. Blackley, Heath Paradice, C. Randy Hill, and J. Thad Paulk

Short-day onion (Allium cepa) variety trials were conducted in southeastern Georgia from 2000–03. Data collected and evaluated included total yield, graded yield, harvest date, number of seedstems, number of doubles, number of onion centers, bulb shape, disease incidence, bulb pungency, and storability in controlled atmosphere (CA) storage. Fifty-eight varieties were evaluated in the trials with 10 varieties appearing in all 4 years. Twenty-nine varieties appeared only once in the trials. Eight varieties had jumbo yields (≥3-inch diameter) that were not significantly different from the greatest jumbo yielding variety in 2 of the 4 years of testing and included `Century', `EX 19013', `Georgia Boy', `Mr. Buck', `Sapelo Sweet', `Savannah Sweet', `Sweet Vidalia', and `WI-609'. Early season varieties were strongly daylength dependent with foliar lodging occuring early and uniformly. Late season varieties were more prone to bacterial infection particularly if postharvest heat curing was employed. Although significant differences between varieties for seedstems (flower formation) and bulb doubling occurred almost every year, environmental conditions were an important part of their development. Five varieties had seedstems in 2 of the 3 years seedstems were prevalent that did not differ from the greatest number of seedstems for that year and included `Cyclops', `Georgia Boy', `Mr. Buck', `Pegasus', and `SSC 6372 F1'. `Sapelo Sweet' and `Sweet Advantage' had more than 5% bulb doubling in 3 years of the trials. Pungency as measured by pyruvate analysis ranged from 1.1 to 5.4 μmol·g–1 fresh weight (FW) over the 4 years of trials. There were nine varieties that were, for 2 years or more, among the greatest in percent marketable onions after 4.5 months of CA storage: `Georgia Boy', `Granex 1035', `Granex 33', `Ohoopee Sweet', `Sapelo Sweet', `Savannah Sweet', `Sweet Melissa', `Sweet Melody', and `SRO 1000'.

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Chad E. Finn and John R. Clark

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Amy Fulcher, Juang-Horng (JC) Chong, Sarah A. White, Joseph C. Neal, Jean L. Williams-Woodward, Craig R. Adkins, S. Kristine Braman, Matthew R. Chappell, Jeffrey F. Derr, Winston C. Dunwell, Steven D. Frank, Stanton A. Gill, Frank A. Hale, William E. Klingeman, Anthony V. LeBude, Karen Rane, and Alan S. Windham

With increased mobile device usage, mobile applications (apps) are emerging as an extension medium, well suited to “place-less” knowledge transfer. Conceptualizing, designing, and developing an app can be a daunting process. This article summarizes the considerations and steps that must be taken to successfully develop an app and is based on the authors’ experience developing two horticulture apps, IPMPro and IPMLite. These apps provide information for major pests and plant care tasks and prompt users to take action on time-sensitive tasks with push notifications scheduled specifically for their location. Topics such as selecting between a web app and a native app, choosing the platform(s) for native apps, and designing the user interface are covered. Whether to charge to download the app or have free access, and navigating the intra- and interinstitutional agreements and programming contract are also discussed. Lastly, the nonprogramming costs such as creating, editing, and uploading content, as well as ongoing app management and updates are discussed.

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Amy Fulcher, Sarah A. White, Juang-Horng (JC) Chong, Joseph C. Neal, Jean L. Williams-Woodward, Craig R. Adkins, S. Kristine Braman, Matthew R. Chappell, Jeffrey F. Derr, Winston C. Dunwell, Steven D. Frank, Stanton A. Gill, Frank A. Hale, William E. Klingeman, Anthony V. LeBude, Karen Rane, and Alan S. Windham

Mobile device applications (apps) have the potential to become a mainstream delivery method, providing services, information, and tools to extension clientele. Testing, promoting, and launching an app are key components supporting the successful development of this new technology. This article summarizes the considerations and steps that must be taken to successfully test, promote, and launch an app and is based on the authors’ experience developing two horticulture apps, IPMPro and IPMLite. These apps provide information for major pests and plant care tasks and prompt users to take action on time-sensitive tasks with push notifications scheduled specifically for their location. App testing and evaluation is a continual process. Effective tactics for app testing and evaluation include garnering focus group input throughout app development and postlaunch, in-house testing with simulators, beta testing and the advantages of services that enhance information gained during beta testing, and postlaunch evaluations. Differences in promotional and bulk purchasing options available among the two main device platforms, Android and iOS, are explored as are general preparations for marketing the launch of a new app. Finally, navigating the app submission process is discussed. Creating an app is an involved process, but one that can be rewarding and lead to a unique portal for extension clientele to access information, assistance, and tools.